Did you see the episode of “Man vs. Food” recently that featured Red Mill Burgers in Seattle? (Here’s a blog post about the original filming.) Well, my kids saw it–months ago–and then again recently. (I saw it last week.)
Awhile back we decided to find the place and eat there on a Sunday after church. I used my handy iPhone to look it up, find the location and get directions. Unfortunately, my iPhone did not tell me the following crucial information:
1) Red Mill Burgers only takes cash and checks. No debit cards.
2) Red Mill Burgers on 67th Street is small and on a Sunday afternoon, extremely crowded. (In other words, you will eat your burgers in your mini-van unless you have better luck than we did.)
3) Red Mill Burgers is a take-out kind of place, not a sit-down with silverware while servers bring you food kind of place, so you stand in a line at a single cash register, place your order, hand over a lot of cash (for a burger place–for instance, this week it cost me nearly $60 for five of us to eat), and then you stand along the wall to wait with eight other people for them to call your name.
The first time we ate at Red Mill, I had only $40 cash–which normally is plenty of cash to pay for our usual Sunday lunch at Dick’s Drive-In. I expected them to accept debit cards. That day, I bought plain burgers and we shared orders of onion rings and no one got a drink. Very unsatisfying.
So, last week, I took the kids to the zoo and then to Red Mill Burgers–on a Wednesday afternoon at about 2 p.m. It was still pretty busy, but we were able to snag two tall tables and five stools and eat inside. I ordered the burger I saw on the episode (bleu cheese and bacon) and it was really a fine burger, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. (Proclaimed to be “one of the 20 hamburgers you must eat before you die.” in Oprah Magazine, they say.) And the onion rings are amazing. One of my teenagers was unable to finish his burger. UNABLE TO FINISH. That’s a big burger.
I realized, after the fact, that dining with four children in a very crowded restaurant while perched on a bar stool, balancing a purse on your lap and trying not to drip ketchup on your shirt is not the best way to experience really good food. How can you enjoy your hamburger if you are reminding your daughter to not slide to the floor? And I had to keep saying, “Watch out! You’re going to hurt your forehead if you keep doing that.” Don’t ask. I don’t know.
So, if you go to Red Mill Burgers, here are my tips:
1) Do not take a 6 and a half year old dining companion.
2) Take a lot of cash. More than you think necessary.
3) Go on a weekday afternoon.
4) Do not put a roast in the Crock-Pot for dinner on a day you eat Red Mill burgers in the afternoon. No one will be hungry for dinner.
5) Also? Parking can be tricky.
Other than that, go for it. I don’t see how you could possibly regret it. Unless you’re a vegan or very frugal. Or allergic to bacon.